The Informer

A cooling off in China and lower technology costs have seen global investment in solar generation fall by 19% in the first half of the year, according to new figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

However, the report shows spending on wind power and energy smart technologies such as electric vehicles and batteries are running above last year’s levels.

World investment in clean energy in the first six months of 2018 stood at $138.2 billion, down 1% from the same period in 2017. The second quarter, from April to June, saw a rise year-on-year – of 8% to $76.7 billion.

Solar investment was down 19% compared to the same period last year at $71.6 billion, with wind up 33% at $57.2 billion. The report said the trends behind the fall in solar investment were set to gather pace in the second half.

Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific at BNEF, said: “On June 1, the Chinese government released a policy document restricting new solar installations that require a national subsidy, with immediate effect. We expect this to lead to sharp drop in installations in China this year, compared to 2017’s spectacular record of 53GW.”

Major wind deals

The jump in wind power investment in the first half of 2018 came thanks to a stream of large project financings from the U.S. to Taiwan and from India to the Netherlands and Norway.

The headline deals included $1.5 billion for the 731.5MW Borssele 3 and 4 offshore wind farm in Dutch waters, $1 billion for the 478MW Hale County onshore wind project in Texas, and $627 million for the 120MW Formosa 1 Miaoli project (the first offshore wind array to be financed in the sea off Taiwan).

U.S. wind investment stood out in the first half of 2018, reaching $17.5 billion, up by 121% on its figure in the same period of last year. Chinese wind investment was resilient, rising 4% to $17.6 billion in 1H.

Equity-raising by specialist companies in energy smart technologies saw a 64% increase year-on-year, to $5.2 billion.

The top deals in the second quarter were a $852.5 million initial public offering by Chinese lithium-ion battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology, or CATL, and a $795 million Series B venture capital round by Chinese electric vehicle company Youxia Motors.

Another Chinese EV specialist, Future Mobility Corporation, raised $500 million in a Series B round of its own.

> Read BNEF's report